Public vs. Private Enforcement of Antitrust Law: A Survey

18 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2006  

Ilya R. Segal

Stanford University

Michael D. Whinston

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 15, 2006

Abstract

There are two basic approaches to deterring socially harmful behavior: with the threat of litigation by private parties or with enforcement by public agencies. Both approaches are used in most countries, but in varying degrees. Private litigation is common in the United States and (to a lesser extent) the United Kingdom and other common law jurisdictions. In contrast, the civil law countries, such as those of continental Europe, have far less private litigation, and rely more on enforcement by public agencies. The difference between the two systems is notable in many areas of law, but it is particularly prominent in the enforcement of antitrust law.

The present paper surveys the general economic issues regarding public vs. private enforcement and the (relatively scarce) economic literature that pertains to it. The analysis is pertinent to the 2005 proposal by the European Commission to facilitate private antitrust litigation in the EU by changing the procedural rules and some substantive law.

Keywords: antitrust, enforcement, litigation, deterrence

JEL Classification: K21, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Segal, Ilya R. and Whinston, Michael D., Public vs. Private Enforcement of Antitrust Law: A Survey (December 15, 2006). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 335. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=952067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.952067

Ilya Segal (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-724-4905 (Phone)
650-725-5702 (Fax)

Michael D. Whinston

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
312-491-8260 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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